Australian compulsive gambler tried to recover losses from Melbourne’s Crown Casino

A compulsive gambler labeled the “highest” of Australia’s high rollers, who wagered close to US$1.4 billion during a 16-month spree, has lost his bid to recover millions in losses from the country’s largest casino.

According to a report by Agence France-Presse, property tycoon Harry Kakavas claimed Melbourne’s Crown Casino facilitated his pathological betting, despite knowing he had a problem that was so severe he had already been banned from one casino. Kakavas, who had been barred from Sydney's Star City casino, sued Crown, claiming it “lured” him with gifts, cash and free flights on a private jet to bring him to Melbourne.

But Judge David Harper ruled the casino had not preyed on the gambler and ordered him to repay approximately US$1 million in debts.

Kakavas, a prolific baccarat player, had tried his luck in Las Vegas, Hong Kong, Macau and the Bahamas, the judge said.

“He was not a person so helplessly entrapped by his love of cards that he found it impossible to resist Crown's attentions,” Harper told the Victorian Supreme Court. “He was the highest of this country’s high rollers. He enjoyed some spectacular wins. In the end, however, he lost all he won, and more.”

Kakavas lost a total of $30 million and sued Crown and its executives for about 20.5 million. He was eventually banned from Crown after blowing more than $2 million at the tables in just 43 minutes in August 2006.